Susan Bunnell Christensen is an on-line instructor for California Connections Academy @ Ripon (Sacramento region), who works with fourth, fifth and sixth graders. She encourages parents to create a summer “bucket list” with their children to provide some structure and sense of purpose over the summer school break.
“It is important to keep kids engaged over the summer break with activities that allow them to continue to learn and have fun,” Bunnell Christensen said. “Otherwise they get bored and it is harder for them to get back into a learning mode when school starts.”
The other problem with boredom is the purposeless use of texting and social media that can leave hearts and minds vulnerable to risky ideas and circumstances (including bullying, sexting and access to drugs and alcohol).
Bunnell Christensen, also a mother of two small children, encourages parents to have a daily plan that at the very least includes one activity, and to get your kids thinking about their own bucket list for the things they want to accomplish over the summer. “Children need human contact along with the cyber tools,” Bunnell Christensen said. “Keeping them socially interactive, with some academics for a learning routine will keep them well motivated.”
Summer activities for the constructive use of time on and off line:
Study music…online! Music lessons, courses, tools and demos from the Juilliard faculty and students are all at the tips of your fingers at Juilliard eLearning. With 24/7 access and reasonable pricing, the next Mozart could be seated in your living room. Includes a music trivia game.
Compose your own theme song: Write down five words that describe yourself and sing them in your head. What musical sound or rhythm comes to mind? String together your sound to create your very own theme song. Now all you need is a cape!
Make a masterpiece: Break out the paints, crayons, colored pencils and… rulers. Inspire your child to replicate works of art by the famed Piet Mondrian, such as “Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red,” with their own personal flair. Ask them to mimic the length of the grid’s lines to squeeze in some added math practice.
Dance your name: Have your child trace the letters of their name using their hand, food, elbow, or any other body part. Clap your hands, bang on some pans or shake some salt shakers to speed up the tempo. Start of slow and build the pace, mimicking the beginning, middle and end of a story.
Create a living room theater: Have your child act out their favorite stories books, plays, TV shows, or even a script from their own imagination. Get the whole family involved by creating props, costumes and programs!
Open a book: No summer learning list is complete without reading. To keep with the arts theme, pick up biographies about great composers, artists or dancers. Sharpen your art skills by creating finger puppets to bring the characters to life
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